Election 2020 Why is Election Day in November

April 1, 2021


America Will Vote For Our Nation’s 46th President Four Weeks From Today

WHY we vote WHEN we vote


  • The Constitution allows states to choose the time for congressional elections, but it’s silent regarding pres. elections, leaving it up to Congress.
  • 1792 to 1845: Congress said presidential electors could vote within a 34-day period before the first Wednesday in December.
  • 1845: Congress designated the Tuesday after the first Monday in November as the day for presidential electors to vote.


  • At the time, America was largely an agrarian society, with most people depending on farming to make money and support their families.
  • November marks the end of the fall harvest (meaning most of the agricultural work was already done).
  • Early November is also the time of year when it’s still usually warm enough to travel before winter begins.


  • Most people lived in rural areas and needed to travel far distances in order to get to a polling station.
  • Tuesday was chosen because holding elections on Mondays could interfere with Sunday church attendance.
  • Congress added “after the first Monday” to ensure Election Day wouldn’t fall on Nov. 1, which is All Saints Day (a Catholic holiday).


  • Like Election Day, the Constitution is also silent about the inauguration date.
  • Most presidential inaugurations were held on March 4th until 1933, when Congress passed the 20th Amendment to shorten the time period outgoing administrations remained in office
  • It states “the terms of the President and the Vice President shall end at noon on the 20th day of January …and the terms of their successors shall then begin.

Now, more than ever, people are questioning the rules governing WHEN we vote, especially due to COVID-19. Some say Election Day should be a federal holiday to allow more people to vote, others say no because while more workers (ex: teachers) would get off from work, others (ex: waiters) would not.

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by Jenna Lee,